Lessons from “Groundhog Day”
Who amongst us hasn’t heard the reference lately that life has become “Groundhog’s Day and I am living it over and over”? Groundhog Day is a movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell where Bill Murray’s character awakens every day at the exact same time, to the same music, to repeat the incidents of Groundhog Day. As he does, he moves through many emotions such as frustration, fear and disbelief, to anger and striking out at others, to finally acceptance. Although we are not living a movie, this is our new life which we are all banking on will be temporary. So I wonder what the lessons are for us during this time. What will you walk away with?
As we awaken every day to different music, yet many of our experiences are repeated daily, our lives may be much simpler or smaller in scope for the moment, which has created our own emotions of fear, anxiety, depression and more. So what can we do to lessen anxiety or gain control over these feelings? As a human resources professional or through the lens of a coach or mentor, here is what is suggest:
- Practice gratitude daily. It has been proven that this practice can heal the body and mind, create positive energy within us, and change our lives by lowering our stress levels. So I suggest that you write down 2-3 things you are grateful for on a piece of paper or in a journal and consider them as your day unfolds. See how this simple act can improve your outlook.
- Social Connections. We are used to going to the office, school or business location and seeing / interacting with dozens or even hundreds of people a day. Now we see our families or roommates and maybe the grocery store clerk. So strike up a conversation at the checkout line and ask them how they are doing. STOP to really listen. I have heard things from “I am afraid every day I come to work but I have kids” to “this is my way of helping others.” The act of connecting with one person a day will help to lighten your outlook.
- Exercise. Moving more has proven to improve moods by releasing endorphins, positively affecting moods to lower anxiety or depression. Read up on it, there are thousands of articles on the benefits of exercise. Moving more is also a foundational point for those who desire to lose weight or tone their bodies. A change of scenery always helps my perspective.
- Sleep. Check out the internet to learn that positive affects of 7-8 hours of sleep – to your body, your mind and your outlook, endless! Put down the phone and read a book, get drowsy enough to slip off and really sleep.
- Expanding your mind. Read a book, take a virtual tour, or learn a new language. There are so many free or nearly free opportunities to learn on the internet, it is crazy not to take advantage of one or two and improve your skills, learn something new or plan your next move.
- Limiting Social Media. Social Media gives us the opportunity to look into someone else’s life without peeking over the fence, but remember most of us are ONLY posting the happiest of memories or experiences. This peeking may cause us to feel less happy about our own situations, to compare our lives to another’s and come up short. (Remember too, things can be photo-shopped making the colors pop or the model thinner.)
- Limit the time you compare your life to others, wishing and yearning to be ‘just like them’. Take a social media fast or delete your account totally! Too drastic? Limit your time and limit the potential negative influences (AND save me from the negative political postings). It only hurts in the beginning then you will appreciate how freeing this can be for you.
- There is a great post circulating on Facebook saying we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat. A mentor of mine reminded me that for some, what we are living is their normal and what right do we have to complain or ignore it. It applies here. Rejoice or celebrate what you do have and who is in your life with you before this awareness passes.
And Give back. I have been involved in non-profits for more years than I care to share, as a Board Member or as someone who gives. Look around you and look past what you are not able to enjoy today and build a new awareness of those who are in need in your community. “The world needs us to focus less on ourselves and more on others.” Thank you, Brad, for reminding me why giving back is more important than ever now. So think about what you can do, every bit helps, trust me as it will help you, too.
For those who need a plan or mission, as a coach or mentor I will ask: What can you take advantage of now, that you could not before, to improve your next move? What is stopping you? As with Bill Murray’s character, each of us will have to take this journey on our own. He moved from anger and hurting others, to taking advantage of the situation to learning personal humility. So whether you want to move ahead in your career, ‘get the girl’ in your movie, or find inner peace, what will you learn?